Preclinical study in cats of the pro-photosensitizer 5-aminolevulinic acid

Michael D. Lucroy, Benjamin F. Edwards, George M. Peavy, Tatiana B. Krasieva, Stephen M Griffey, Joanna B. Stiles, Bruce R. Madewell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine whether feline cells were able to convert 5- aminolevulinic acid (ALA) to protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) in vivo and in vitro, whether IV administration of ALA to healthy cats resulted in adverse effects, and whether PpIX accumulated in a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of a cat. Animals - 4 healthy adult cats and 1 adult cat with a cutaneous SCC. Procedure - In vitro production of PpIX was determined by incubating Crandell feline kidney cells with ALA. Effects of ALA administration and in vivo production of PpIX were determined by administering ALA (100, 200, or 400 mg/kg of body weight) to healthy cats and collecting skin biopsy specimens for up to 24 hours after drug administration. Blood samples were collected for CBC and serum biochemical analyses, and necropsies were performed. Accumulation of PpIX in a SCC was determined by treating a cat with a facial SCC with ALA and collecting specimens of the tumor and adjacent grossly normal skin. Results - Incubation of ALA with feline cells resulted in time, and dose-dependent cytoplasmic accumulation of PpIX in vitro. After IV ALA administration, PpIX was detected in all tissues examined, with the highest fluorescence intensity in epithelia and in squamous cell carcinoma. The tumor-to-skin fluorescence intensity ratio was 5. All cats developed hepatotoxicoses. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Results from this limited number of cats suggest that ALA may be a useful photosensitizer in cats, but that doses > 100 mg/kg, IV, may not be safe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1370
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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